Friday, June 14, 2013

BLESSED!

Maybe someone can help me understand where I'm coming from. I'm puzzled. I puzzle myself.

Here's the problem: Few things annoy me more than for someone to respond, "Blessed!" when I ask "How are you?" or to depart with, "Have a blessed day," instead of "Goodbye." Yet, those responses are precisely, exactly what one would expect, given what I've shared about my belief system.

To review briefly: As I've stated repeatedly, I believe that God is always blessing me, even when things seem not to be going well at all; from even the most seemingly negative of circumstances I can learn and grow. And that seems to be exactly what people are saying when they respond with "Blessed!" when I ask "How're you?" I've seen people who are very obviously in great physical distress answer "Blessed!" when I've asked them, "How are you?" And that's annoyed me to no end. 

"Goodbye." "God be with you." Actually, that's almost meaningless. "How are you?" I don't really care how you are; I'm just being polite; don't tell me what's going on, because I'm really not interested."

But, what's really going on is that I am blessed. No matter what is happening in my life, God is blessing me now. I can be grateful for the wonderful circumstances of my life, and I can learn and grow from the seemingly not-so-wonderful circumstances. If I really believe that, I should be the first one to respond, "Blessed!" whenever someone asks me how I am.

But I don't. Maybe it's an expression of my extreme, unfortunate prejudice against the evangelical/fundamentalist wing of Christendom with which I don't want to be identified. I say "unfortunate," because I realize that it is, in fact, a prejudice, and I don't believe there are any valid reasons for any prejudice --- including my own. I have to admit that some of the most jarring experiences of my week are when I greet fellow members of my church each Sunday with "How are you?" and they respond with, "Blessed!" For God's sake, these are fellow Episcopalians, not Baptists or Pentecostals. The polite, Episcopalian response should be, "Just fine, thank you."

But, what if things are not "fine"? What if the person is sick? Or penniless but with huge debts? Unemployed? Homeless? With their response, those people in those circumstances remind me of the validity, the truth, of what I profess: "God is blessing me now."

Maybe some day I'll change. On an emotional, spiritual, and --- yes --- superficial level, I know that God is always blessing me. On an intellectual level, and verbally, I don't know if I'll ever start smiling beatifically and responding, ""Blessed!" or bidding people farewell with "Have a blessed day!"

Pray for me.